Throughout history Jerusalem and its Holy Places have witnessed fierce religious controversy and political dispute. This multidisciplinary study analyses an international and diplomatic perspective which highlights the state/national (territorial) versus global/transnational approach to Jerusalem with respect to possession and the right to worship. It provides an overview and interpretation of the relevant provisions included in the international documents used in the Middle East Peace Process, and researches the historical complexities of the terms Status Quo and Holy Places -- termilogy crucial to the various claims. Enrico Molinaro sets out to answer the following questions: (1) Under what conditions and to what extent does international law regulate and protect the interests of the various recognised communities in the Holy Places? And (2) What types of collective identities and which representative communities are entitled to raise claims on these places? Various communities have raised fierce controversies over worship rights, such as the Holy Sepulchre inter-Christian disputes and the Har Ha Bait/Haram Al Sharif (Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary) Israeli-Jewish/Palestinian-Muslim disputes. According to the state/territorial perspective, the relevant groups with respect to possession and worship would be the Israelis and the Palestinians, whereas according to the global/transnational interpretation, such groups should be labelled as Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In the state/territorial perspective, the symbolic value of Jerusalem and its Holy Places is related to the development of the conflicting national Israeli and Arab -- later Palestinian -- collective identities. But in the global perspective, millions of people identify themselves as Jews, Christians, and Muslims. These people, who are mostly living outside of Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian areas, consider the city and its Holy Places to be a locus for worship and spiritual devotion. This book is essential reading for all those involved in studying International Legal Agreements and for all Middle East Studies practitioners.
Enrico Molinaro is is founder, organizer, and fundraiser of the non-profit association Mediterranean Perspectives, and Primary Coordinator of international scholarly conferences with the participation of academic, diplomatic, religious and political authorities. He lectures at Luiss University's Doctoral Program of Political Theory, and at La Sapienza University's Master Program of International Protection of Human Rights in Rome, Italy. He has also authored the book Negotiating Jerusalem (Passia, 2002).